Always on the lookout for a bargain, I HAD to investigate the "2012 Forte EX, $14,999" ad.
I'd been wanting to check out Fortes anyway, and this was my justification. I thought they were overshadowed by their Soul kin, what with Hamster rock stars and all, and they don't get a lot of ad time in my neck of the woods.
I find the Forte a good-looking, understated, solid clean shape. Looks good in black.
The seats are on the firm side. No temp gauge. Standard KIA shifter thingie with + and - if one is inclined to play stick. Instruments are glowing and visible. Radio and HVAC controls are front and center, non-complex and easy to adapt to from the Spectra or recent Soul rental. Familial and all that good stuff.
Car rides pretty firmly. Little lean in turns, trans is silky-smooth, power from the 1998cc Theta II 156HP 144TQ is quite adequate, but not noticeably quicker than The Mighty Spectra.
On the highway in 6th gear, you get 30 MPH/1000 RPM which is more than the Spectra's (Beta II, 1975cc, 138 HP 136 TQ) 27.5 MPH, less than the 200's 37~, and the same as ye olde rental Soul+ 2.0 (Nu, 1999cc, 164 HP 148 TQ).
Forte carries 13.7 gallons of fuel.
(An aside: The base Soul with the 1.6 Gamma GDI 1591cc 138 HP 123 TQ runs 25 MPH/1000 RPM in top gear. More later.)
Brake pedal feels fine, gas pedal feels fine, steering wheel feels fine. Nothing remarkable or out of sorts, which in Your Humble Neanderthal's opinion means well-sorted-out.
There's a handy sunglass holder up by the ceiling front interior lights, every car should have one of these. Map space and drink space in the front doors, but not the rears.
I drove the 2012 demo "super saver" a couple of times.
The trick is incentives.
Upon closer examination, a no-options 2013 Forte EX stickers at $18,575 including destination. It seems to vary daily, but today KIA showed $500 in veterans cash, $1000 in customer cash, and $1000 if you finance for 36 months at 1.9% with KIA.
Invoice is about $1000 under sticker, so you take all cash plus invoice off the $18,575 and you're right at $15,075 which is a mere 76 bucks more than they wanted for a 2012 with 8000 miles on it.
I went out to a dealership today to check again on a 2013 black Forte EX. Sitting around bored were four base Souls. I drove one, given that the dealership was like a funeral parlor, sans-stiffs. On this holiday weekend, all the locals are at lakes or in the woods, or somewhere other than caah dealers. Dopes! Part of my life's mission is to ensure that not all car saleshomies are bored all the time.
I DO like the "Dune" color in the Soul. The base model lacks cruise and remote, both necessities in the Neanderthal world. Oh yeah, and a center console/armrest is optional. Also required.
No handy sunglass-holder in a ceiling compartment.
The Soul rides smoother and steers just a bit less-tightly than the Forte. The instruments are lit up a bit better. It has a temp gauge, FWIW. It also feels a tad quicker on its feet, likely a function of a shorter wheelbase and slightly less curb weight.
Soul carries 12.7 gallons of fuel.
Not to say it will be the better handler, the lower-CG Forte will likely win a track contest.
Soul has more open space inside, of course, despite its 16" shorter OAL the interior is all cave space.
My buttdyno couldn't feel any difference in acceleration times between the Gamma 1.6 GDI and the 2.0 no-GDI Theta.
CD published tests of the 2012 1.6 Soul 6A, 2010 2.0 Forte Theta 4A, and 2010 2.4 Forte 6A show mere tenths of a second differences for most acceleration figures up to the 1/4 mile.
For you numbers junkies, 0-60 and 1/4 show 8.9/16.9 @ 81; 8.8/16.6 @ 85; and 8.9/16.9 @ 84, respectively.
I may be on the verge of a deal here. Invoice on a base Soul is but $400-$500 under sticker. There is $500 Veteran's cash on the hood of 2013s, that's it. They sell these quickly.
Both cars are shod with wish-they-were-mediocre Hankook or Nexen junker 195.65.15s. Those will be replaced, if I did it tonight it would be with Michelin MXV4s, possibly going up one size to 205.65.15 or even 215.60.15.
Hoping to get moved to somewhere south of Motown this autumn, the new car will be tasked with a 2000-2500 mile Interstate journey with our one surviving cat-child. After that, local duties including trips to Motown and area.
I'll be trading both cars, or selling the Spectra on ebay. If you need a conscientiously-maintained Spectra with under 21K on it, let me know.
Comments and opinions are welcome, unless you happen to disagree with me in any shape, manner, fashion, or form!